Online retail: weekly order trends during the Coronavirus pandemic in Europe 2020

The weekly order trends of online retail during the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain demonstrated great volatility with huge spikes and falls from March 8th, 2020 onwards. Compared to the year prior, the UK’s online retail orders saw the greatest volatility between May 10 and May 24, where a respective growth of 200 percent was followed by a drastic decline of minus four percent. Out of the four countries measured, Germany tended to display the steadiest rates of online retail orders compared to the UK, Italy and Spain.

Expected impact of Coronavirus on retail sales and GDP in the UK

Between March 9, 2020 and April 20, 2020, the Coronavirus had a major negative impact on retail sales in the UK, and the EU in general. The expected impact of lost cumulative retail sales in the UK during this time period is 253 million British pounds. The expected impact of lost cumulative retail sales in the EU was 3.26 billion British pounds. The Coronavirus outbreak also had a major negative impact on the GDP growth rate in the UK. Out of the 27 EU-Member States surveyed, it was projected that the UK’s GDP growth rate in 2020 would be the fifth most affected, with a contraction of 8.3 percent. The UK is preceded by Croatia, Spain, Italy and Greece.

Projected growth in the UK’s retail sector following Coronavirus

Although most of the UK’s retail sectors have been negatively impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020, there is one retail sector that is projected to grow, the food and grocery sector. The food and grocery retail sector is expected to grow by 7.1 percent in 2020, following the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the overall growth in the UK’s retail sector is expected to contract by 1.7 percent in 2020.

Year-on-year growth in weekly online orders in retail industry during the Coronavirus pandemic in selected countries in Europe in 2020

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Release date

July 2020


Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom

Survey time period

January 5, 2020 to June 28, 2020

Supplementary notes

"Online orders" refer to the number of online transactions made on desktop, mobile, and tablet) - aggregated. The sources add that online retail activity refers to "digital sales across website, mobile, web, and app, of brands who mainly trade in physical stores."

The source adds the following note regarding methodology: "The data included in this visualization is an anonymized subset of the online sales of brands in more than 100 countries, based on consumer engagement across more than one billion consumer profiles and 2,500 global brands."

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